Vaccine mandates no longer permitted in Texas
By: Sierra Wells
On Oct. 11, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that prohibited all vaccine mandates from any establishment in Texas.
The executive order states, “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19. I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki criticized Abbott’s decision during a White House press briefing on Oct. 12.
“Abbott’s executive order banning mandates, and I would also note the announcement by Gov. DeSantis this morning essentially banning the implementation of mandates, fit a familiar pattern that we’ve seen of putting politics ahead of public health. Over 700,000 American lives have been lost due to COVID-19, including more than 56,000 in Florida and over 68,000 in Texas. And every leader should be focused on supporting efforts to save lives and end the pandemic. Why would you be taking steps that prevent the saving of lives, that make it more difficult to save lives across the country or in any state?” Paski said.
Abbott’s order directly contradicts federal vaccine mandates currently in effect.
On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden announced that all federal employees would be required to receive the vaccination. In addition, all workers at companies with more than 100 employees would either need to be vaccinated or receive a weekly test for the virus.
Currently, there will be consequences for Texas entities that do not adhere to the rules set out in Abbott’s order, including a fine that can reach up to $1,000. However, there will be no required jail time.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 17,522,644 people in Texas have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and 15,174,908 people have already been fully vaccinated as of Oct. 15.
Abbott’s executive order has also impacted the students at Tarleton State University, who have strong opinions about this decision.
When asked what she thought about the ban on vaccine mandates, President of the Tarleton State University College of Business Law Society Cameron Dyer said, “As a Texan, I agree with what Gov. Abbott is doing with this particular executive order. While the ‘vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus, it should remain voluntary and never forced’ [Abbott, 10/11/21]. As stated in the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th amendment, ‘no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property’ meaning that we, as American citizens, have the right to make decisions concerning our own livelihood. For some people, this may include taking the vaccination, while for others it may not, but I believe in medical freedom and the right to refuse treatment.”
Controversy surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccines have continued to grow in Texas, and there is no sign of this tension ending any time soon. Texan News Service will keep you up to date as the story develops.